Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How to Send an Email to Someone When you do not Know their Email Address

Author: David Schuchman
              Information Technology Manager of Projects and Teams
Sometimes you need to send an email to someone, but you may not know their exact professional email address. You may need to contact that person to follow up after a business discussion, to thank them for an interview, or even to establish a new relationship. It can be a challenge to send an email to someone when you do not know his/her exact professional email address. Here are some tips for overcoming this challenge.

Ask Others
The first thing to do is to contact people that have a relationship with the person to which you want to send the email. That could be former and current coworkers of the person you would like to contact. Ask those people for the exact email address. If they do not know, ask if they know the format that the organization uses for their employee’s email.

Search the Web & Social Media
The next thing to do is to search the web for the person using a search engine. Google and Bing are good search engines to use for finding someone. In addition, search common social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to see if the recipient has openly posted an email address. You can also search for someone via a fee-based search sites like Spokeo ( Also, search for other people that may work with that person to see if you can find their email addresses. If so, then you will uncover the format of the email address for the person you are actually looking for.

Figure it Out
If you still cannot find the person’s email address, you will likely know the most common information about the person, which you can apply to the email address. For example, you will likely know their name and company. With that, you have what you need to get started.

Search the internet for the company where the recipient works. That will enable you to learn the “domain” portion (e.g. “”) of the email address. The company URL (e.g.““) will often equate to the email “domain” portion. If you cannot determine the exact company name, but find variations, then jot those down. Also, include the best known ISPs that offer email (Google, Yahoo, etc.). The maximum length of the “domain” part is 255 characters.

Once you know the domain, use a website like to determine the email address format(s) used at the company. Some companies have more than one email address format. In these websites, enter the company’s domain in a search field. That will return the email address format(s) used at the company.

Create a List of Possibilities
If you still do not know the email address format, then mix and match all of the “local” and “domain” part words you found and created into a group of email addresses. This group can be as large or small as you would like. If you were searching for “Mary Smith” who works for the “Very Big” company, you may create email a list of email addresses that look like this:
The last step is to pick one email address from the group you created. Pick anyone, it does not matter. The one you pick is the email address you will place in the “TO:” field of your email message. Then, copy all of the other email addresses from your group to the “BCC:” (Blind Carbon Copy) field. The result of doing this will be that the recipient will likely receive the email, but only see the one email address in the “TO:” field. The recipient never sees the “BCC” field. So s/he will never know you placed many more email addresses in the “BCC:” field. The secondary benefit is that you will likely receive “undeliverable” email messages for all of the invalid email address. The email address for the one you did not receive an “undeliverable” email message is the actual email address. Voilà!

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